The artwork of Cassandra Smith exists in the space between juxtapositions. Taxidermied animals are often a bit creepy. However, Smith’s stuffed forest friends are also playfully decorated – fish covered in rhinestones, and fur in bright paint. The natural plays with the synthetic, old with the new, and utilitarian with the decorative. She says of her work:
“My work is about manipulations and transformation. It is about exploring the ways that I can enhance and change found objects to give them something they did not have in their former life.” [via]
The work of artist Maico Akiba is almost a kind of future nostalgia. Maico begins his work with commonplace objects such as electronics or clothing. He alters the objects to appear as if they are 100 years old. Rust and moss are taking over electronics while paint chips and peels away. Although, the electronics look like relics, they are entirely functional. Perhaps, this is how the future ruins of present day life will look. They also serve as a comical type of existential reminder.
These headless figures resemble ancient Venus statuettes. However, the sculptures’ construction betray their modern origin. Artist Etienne Gros pulls, tucks, and pins foam to resemble the classic nude. The full curves and folds of the foam mimic human flesh in strangely similar manner. Gros contrasts the age-old form with modern industrial material to highlight concerns that have never disappeared – the body, sensuality and sex. Gros is familiar with the human figure beyond this unique medium. He’s explored themes of the classical figure in paint and even smoke.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg‘s project, Stranger Visions, is a wonderful mix of science and art. Dewey-Hagborg turns a poetic attention to the seemingly innocuous artifacts of life: a hair, chewed gum, a cigarette butt. Beyond sight, though, the DNA remains of each unique person inhabits these “artifacts”. She picks up these remains up throughout Brooklyn and brings them to a nearby biology lab. Dewey-Hagborg extracts the DNA from the object, then information from the DNA. She runs the information through a program she has written herself that is able to determine physical features such as eye color, hair color, gender, nose width, and so on. That information is then exported to a 3D color printer to create a sculptural portrait of the unwitting donor. [via]
There is something especially frightening about Lara Mezzapelle and Giacomo Deriu‘s sculpture, Dirittura d’Arrivo. The sculpture freezes the moment a plane rips in half, about to plunge from the sky. All of the ensuing chaos – panicking passengers, flying luggage, mangled metal – is caught completely and eerily in white. A fear of flying has been a common modern phobia. However, as critic Olivia Spatola points out, a plane crash in a post 9/11 world reflects the more modern fear of a new kind of violence. In a way Mezzapelle and Deriu capture this modern fear in their medium and process. The sculpture is planned using 3D modeling software, and cut from nylon using prototyping lasers.
Strainers are tools not often seen outside of the kitchen, much less in the art studio. However, artist Isaac Cordal puts them to use in a series of street installations titled Cement Bleak. For the series Cordal sculpts human faces into the mesh of the hand held strainers. The strainers are then inserted into the ground. Sunlight or streetlights pass through the strainers and project a shadow portrait onto the sidewalk. The nature of strainer’s mesh allows for a strangely realistic face from several angles of light.
Artist Joanne Arnett‘s artwork reproduces mugshots in a uniquely meticulous way. She painstakingly recreates these images as woven textiles. Mixing thread a wire, the result is similar to a shimmering newspaper photograph. Mug shots are generally thought of as utilitarian, empty of aesthetic, and quickly forgotten. Arnett wittily juxtaposes this against the form of a tapestry – valuable textiles often passed on as heirlooms. Interestingly, the title of each piece is the accused’s sentence. For example, the title of the first image is “Two Years and a Fine of $2,000”.
Artist Alessandro Lupi seems to capture ghosts in his eerie sculptures. Lupi begins with simple thread to create his artwork. He paints each strand one at a time with fluorescent paint. The threads are then arranged and lit with black lights. Lupi often arranges the thread in the form of a figure – a person that at once seems to inhabit a space and in the process of disappearing. He calls his work ‘Fluorescent Densities’. The designation alludes to the way he uses his medium to “investigate” and play with light and space.